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A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a
direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calc ...
vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The domi ...

vote
by the
electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The dominion of a Prince-elector in the Holy Roman Empire until 1806 * An electo ...
on a particular proposal or issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a
representative Representative may refer to: Politics *Representative democracy, type of democracy in which elected officials represent a group of people *House of Representatives, legislative body in various countries or sub-national entities *Legislator, someone ...
. It can have nationwide or
local Local may refer to: Geography and transportation * Local (train), a train serving local traffic demand * Local, Missouri, a community in the United States * Local government, a form of public administration, usually the lowest tier of administrati ...
forms. This may result in the adoption of a new
policy Policy is a deliberate system of guideline A guideline is a statement by which to determine a course of action. A guideline aims to streamline particular processes according to a set routine or sound practice. Guidelines may be issued by an ...

policy
or specific
law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boundari ...
. In some countries, it is synonymous with or commonly known by other names including a plebiscite, votation, popular consultation, ballot question, ballot measure, or proposition. Some definitions of 'plebiscite' suggest it is a type of vote to change the constitution or government of a country. The word, 'referendum' is often a catchall, used for both
legislative referral A Legislative referral (or legislative referendum) is a form of referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct and Universal suffrage, universal vote in which an entire Constituency, electorat ...
s and
initiative In political science, an initiative (also known as a popular initiative or citizens' initiative) is a means by which a petition signed by a certain number of Voter registration, registered voters can force a government to choose either to enac ...
s.


Etymology and plural form

'Referendum' is the
gerundive In Latin grammar, a gerundive () is a verb form that functions as a verbal adjective. In Classical Latin, the gerundive is distinct in form and function from the gerund and the Latin conjugation#Participles, present active participle. In Late Lati ...
form of the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the dominant la ...
verb , literally "to carry back" (from the verb , "to bear, bring, carry" plus the inseparable
prefix A prefix is an which is placed before the of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one word changes it into another word. For example, when the prefix ''un-'' is added to the word ''happy'', it creates the word ''unhappy''. Particularly in t ...
, here meaning "back"). As a gerundive is an
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
, not a
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many la ...

noun
, it cannot be used alone in Latin, and must be contained within a context attached to a noun such as , "A proposal which must be carried back to the people". The addition of the verb (3rd person singular, ) to a gerundive, denotes the idea of necessity or compulsion, that which "must" be done, rather than that which is "fit for" doing. Its use as a noun in English is not considered a strictly grammatical usage of a foreign word but is rather a freshly coined English noun, which follows English grammatical usage, not Latin grammatical usage. This determines the form of the plural in English, which according to English grammar should be "referendums". The use of "referenda" as a plural form in English (treating it as a Latin word and attempting to apply to it the rules of Latin grammar) is unsupportable according to the rules of both Latin and English grammar. The use of "referenda" as a plural form is posited hypothetically as either a gerund or a gerundive by the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as desc ...
'', which rules out such usage in both cases as follows:
''Referendums'' is logically preferable as a plural form meaning 'ballots on one issue' (as a Latin gerund, referendum has no plural). The Latin plural gerundive 'referenda', meaning 'things to be referred', necessarily connotes a plurality of issues.
It is closely related to agenda, "those matters which must be driven forward", from , to impel or drive forwards; and
memorandum A memorandum (abbrev.: memo; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Throug ...
, "that matter which must be remembered", from , to call to mind,
corrigendaAn erratum or corrigendum (plurals: errata, corrigenda) (comes from la, wikt:errata corrige, errata corrige) is a correction of a published text. As a general rule, publishers issue an erratum for a production error (i.e., an error introduced during ...
, from , to rule, make straight, those things which must be made straight (corrected), etc. In Australia, a 'referendum' is often said to be a vote to change the federal constitution and 'plebiscite' a vote which does not affect the federal constitution. However, this is erroneous as not all federal referendums have been on constitutional matters (such as the
1916 Australian conscription referendum The 1916 Australian referendum on compulsory military service was held on 28 October 1916. It was the first non-binding Australian referendum, and contained one question. This referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly refer ...
), and state votes that likewise do not affect either the federal or state constitution are frequently said to be referendums (such as the
2009 Western Australian daylight saving referendum The 2009 Western Australian daylight saving referendum was held on 16 May 2009 in the Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continen ...
). Historically, they are used by Australians interchangeably and a plebiscite was considered another name for a referendum. In Ireland, 'plebiscite' referred to the vote to adopt its constitution, but a subsequent vote to amend the constitution is called a 'referendum', as is a poll of the electorate on a non-constitutional bill.


Earliest use

The name and use of the 'referendum' is thought to have originated in the
Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland ,german: Schweizer(in),french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-indep ...

Swiss
canton of
Graubünden
Graubünden
as early as the 16th century. The term 'plebiscite' has a generally similar meaning in modern usage and comes from the Latin ''plebiscita'', which originally meant a decree of the ''
Concilium Plebis The ''Concilium Plebis'' (English: Plebeian Council, Plebeian Assembly, People's Assembly or Council of the Plebs) was the principal assembly of the common people of the ancient Roman Republic. It functioned as a legislative/judicial assembly, th ...
'' (Plebeian Council), the popular assembly of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of the . Beginning with the of the (traditionally dated to 509 BC) and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the , Rome's control rapidly expanded durin ...
. Today, a referendum can also often be referred to as a plebiscite, but in some countries the two terms are used differently to refer to votes with differing types of legal consequences. For example, Australia defines 'referendum' as a vote to change the constitution and 'plebiscite' as a vote that does not affect the constitution. In contrast, Ireland has only ever held one plebiscite, which was the vote to adopt its constitution, and every other vote has been called a referendum. Plebiscite has also been used to denote a non-binding vote count such as the one held by Nazi Germany to 'approve' in retrospect the so-called Anschluss with Austria, the question being not 'Do you permit?' but rather 'Do you approve?' of that which has most definitely already occurred.


Types of referendums


Classification

The term "referendum" covers a variety of different meanings, and the terminology is different depending on the country that holds them. A referendum can be binding or advisory. In some countries, different names are used for these two types of referendum. Referendums can be further classified by who initiates them. David Altman proposes four dimensions that referendums can be classified by: * Mandatory (legally required) vs Optional (ad hoc) * Binding vs consultative * Citizen initiated (bottom up) vs Authorities initiated (top-down) * Proactive (proposing a change) vs reactive (preventing a change)


Mandatory referendums

A
mandatory referendum A mandatory referendum, also known as an obligatory referendum, is a referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct and Universal suffrage, universal vote in which an entire Constituency, ...
is a class of referendum required to be voted on if certain conditions are met or for certain government actions to be taken. They do not require any signatures from the public. In areas that use referendums a mandatory referendum is commonly used as a legally required step for ratification for constitutional changes, ratifying international treaties and joining international organizations, and certain types of public spending. Typical types of mandatory referendums include: * Constitutional changes: Some countries or local governments choose to enact any constitutional amendments with a mandatory referendum. These include
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_Europe image:Small_Island_in ...
,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = under an , leader_title1 = , leader_name1 = , leader_title2 = , leader_name2 = , legislatur ...
, Denmark, and 49 of the 50
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a W ...
s (the only exception is
Delaware Delaware ( ) is a state in the Mid-AtlanticMid-Atlantic or Mid Atlantic can refer to: *The middle of the Atlantic Ocean *Mid-Atlantic English, a mix between British English and American English *Mid-Atlantic Region (Little League World Serie ...
). * Financial referendum: Many localities require a referendum in order for the government to issue certain bonds, raise taxes above a specified amount, or take on certain amounts of debt. In
California California is a in the . With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the and the U.S. state by area. It is also the in North America and the in the world. The area and the are the nation's second and ...

California
for example, the state government may not borrow more than $300,000 without a public vote in a statewide bond
proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is shared by all sentences with the same mea ...
. * International relations: Switzerland has mandatory referendums on enacting
international treaties A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relation ...

international treaties
that have to do with
collective security Collective security can be understood as a security arrangement In music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all ...
and joining a supranational community. This type of referendum has only occurred once in the country's history: a failed attempt in 1986 for Switzerland to join the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
. * War referendum: A hypothetical type of referendum, first proposed by
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philosopher and one of the central Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment thinkers. Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethi ...

Immanuel Kant
, is a referendum to approve a declaration of war in a war referendum. It has never been enacted by any country, but was debated in the United States in the 1930s as the
Ludlow Amendment The Ludlow Amendment was a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States which called for a national referendum on any declaration of war by United States Congress, Congress, except in cases when the United States had been attacked ...
.


Optional referendum

An
optional referendum The optional referendum (german: fakultatives Referendum; french: référendum facultatif, it, referendum facoltativo, rm, referendum facultativ) is an instrument of direct democracy in Switzerland. It allows citizens to oppose laws voted by t ...
is a class of referendums that is put to the vote as a result of a demand. This may come from the executive branch, legislative branch, or a request from the people (often after meeting a signature requirement). Types of optional referendums include: * Authorities plebiscite: Also known as a legislative referrals, are initiated by the legislature or government. These may be advisory questions to gauge public opinion or binding questions of law. * Initiative referendum: A citizen-led process to propose and vote on new laws. *
Popular referendum A popular referendum (also known, depending on jurisdiction, as citizens' veto, people's veto, veto referendum, citizen referendum, abrogative referendum, rejective referendum, suspensive referendum or statute referendum)Maija SetäläReferendum, ...
: A citizen-led process to oppose and strike down existing laws. * Recall referendum: A procedure to remove elected officials before the end of their
term of office A term of office is the length of time a person serves in a particular elected office An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate Mandate most often refers to: * League of Nations mandates, quasi-colonial territories establi ...
. Depending on the area and position, a recall may be for a specific individual, such as an individual legislator, or more general such as an entire legislature.


Rationale

From a political-philosophical perspective, referendums are an expression of
direct democracy upright=1.5, A Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland">canton_of_Glarus.html" ;"title="Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus">Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 200 ...
, but today, most referendums need to be understood within the context of representative democracy. They tend to be used quite selectively, covering issues such as changes in voting systems, where currently elected officials may not have the legitimacy or inclination to implement such changes.


Referendums by country

Since the end of the 18th century, hundreds of national referendums have been organised in the world; almost 600 national votes have been held in
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = under an , leader_title1 = , leader_name1 = , leader_title2 = , leader_name2 = , legislatur ...
since its inauguration as a modern state in 1848.
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the . Italy is located in the centre of th ...

Italy
ranks second with 73 national referendums: 67 popular referendums (46 of which were proposed by the Radical Party), 4 constitutional referendums, and .


Multiple-choice referendums

A referendum usually offers the electorate a straight choice between accepting or rejecting a proposal. However some referendums give voters multiple choices, and some use transferable voting. In
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
, for example, multiple choice referendums are common. Two multiple choice referendums were held in
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic countries, Nordic country in Northern Europe.The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names states that the country's fo ...

Sweden
, in 1957 and in 1980, in which voters were offered three options. In 1977, a referendum held in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
to determine a new
national anthem A national anthem is a Patriotism, patriotic musical composition symbolizing and evoking eulogies of the history and traditions of a country or nation. The majority of national anthems are March (music), marches or hymns in style. Latin America ...

national anthem
was held, in which voters had four choices. In 1992, New Zealand held a five-option referendum on their electoral system. In 1982, Guam had a referendum that used six options, with an additional blank option for those wishing to (campaign and) vote for their own seventh option. A multiple choice referendum poses the question of how the result is to be determined. They may be set up so that if no single option receives the support of an absolute
majority A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, of the total.See dictionary definitions of "majority" aMerriam-Webster
(more than half) of the votes, resort can be made to the two-round system or
instant-runoff voting Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a type of Ranked voting, ranked preferential electoral system, vote counting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. IRV is also sometimes referred to as the alternative vote (AV), pre ...
, which is also called IRV and PV. In 2018 the Irish
Citizens' Assembly A citizens' assembly (also known as citizens' jury or citizens' panel or people's jury or policy jury or citizens' initiative review or consensus conference or citizens' convention) is a body formed from randomly selected citizen Citizenship ...
considered the conduct of future
referendums in Ireland A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct DIRECT was a late-2000s proposed alternative super heavy lift launch vehicle A super heavy-lift launch vehicle (SHLLV) is a launch vehicle capable of lifting more than ...
, with 76 of the members in favour of allowing more than two options, and 52% favouring preferential voting in such cases. Other people regard a non-majoritarian methodology like the
Modified Borda Count Modified may refer to: *Modified (album), ''Modified'' (album), the second full-length album by Save Ferris *Modified racing, or "Modifieds", an American automobile racing genre See also

* Modification (disambiguation) * Modifier (disambiguatio ...
(MBC) as more inclusive and more accurate. Swiss referendums offer a separate vote on each of the multiple options as well as an additional decision about which of the multiple options should be preferred. In the Swedish case, in both referendums the 'winning' option was chosen by the
Single Member Plurality Plurality voting is an electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral systems are organized by gover ...
("first past the post") system. In other words, the winning option was deemed to be that supported by a
plurality Plurality may refer to: Voting * Plurality (voting), the most votes for any choice in an election, but not necessarily a majority ** Plurality voting, system in which each voter votes for one candidate and the candidate with a plurality is elected ...
, rather than an absolute majority, of voters. In the 1977 Australian referendum, the winner was chosen by the system of preferential
instant-runoff voting Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a type of Ranked voting, ranked preferential electoral system, vote counting method used in single-seat elections with more than two candidates. IRV is also sometimes referred to as the alternative vote (AV), pre ...
(IRV). Polls in Newfoundland (1949) and Guam (1982), for example, were counted under a form of the
two-round system The two-round system, also known as the second ballot, runoff voting, or ballotage, is a voting method Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an E ...
, and an unusual form of TRS was used in the 1992 New Zealand poll. Although
California California is a in the . With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the and the U.S. state by area. It is also the in North America and the in the world. The area and the are the nation's second and ...

California
has not held multiple-choice referendums in the Swiss or Swedish sense (in which only one of several counter-propositions can be victorious, and the losing proposals are wholly null and void), it does have so many yes-or-no referendums at each election day that conflicts arise. The State's constitution provides a method for resolving conflicts when two or more inconsistent propositions are passed on the same day. This is a de facto form of
approval voting Approval voting is a single-winner electoral system An electoral system or voting system is a set of rules that determine how elections and Referendum, referendums are conducted and how their results are determined. Political electoral system ...
—i.e. the proposition with the most "yes" votes prevails over the others to the extent of any conflict. Another voting system that could be used in multiple-choice referendum is the
Condorcet method A Condorcet method (; ) is an election method that elects the candidate who wins a majority rule, majority of the vote in every head-to-head election against each of the other candidates, that is, a candidate preferred by more voters than any oth ...
.


Referendum disputes

Important referendums are frequently challenged in courts. In pre-referendum disputes, plaintiffs have often tried to prevent the referendum to take place. In one such challenge, in 2017, the Spanish Constitutional Court suspended the
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
's
independence referendum An independence referendum is a type of referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct and Universal suffrage, universal vote in which an entire Constituency, electorate is invited to vote ...
. In post-referendum disputes, they challenge the result. British courts dismissed post-referendum challenges of the
Brexit Brexit (; a portmanteau of "British exit") was the Withdrawal from the European Union, withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) at 23:00 31 January 2020 Green ...
referendum. International tribunals have traditionally not interfered with referendum disputes. In 2021, the
European Court of Human Rights European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe ** Ethnic groups in Europe ** Demographics of Europe ** European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western ...

European Court of Human Rights
extended its jurisdiction to referendums in its judgment ''Toplak and Mrak'' v. ''Slovenia'', initiated by two
disabled A disability is any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to do certain activities or effectively interact with the world around them (socially or materially). These conditions, or impairments, may be cognitive Cognition () ...

disabled
voters over
polling place A polling station situated inside a suburban library in the north of Cambridge during the 2005 United Kingdom general election ">2005_United_Kingdom_general_election.html" ;"title="Cambridge during the 2005 United Kingdom general election">Cambrid ...
access Access may refer to: Companies and organizations * ACCESS (Australia), an Australian youth network * Access (credit card), a former credit card in the United Kingdom * Access Co., a Japanese software company * Access International Advisors, a hed ...

access
.


Criticisms


Criticism of populist aspect

Critics of the referendum argue that voters in a referendum are more likely to be driven by transient whims than by careful deliberation, or that they are not sufficiently informed to make decisions on complicated or technical issues. Also, voters might be swayed by
propaganda Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to Social influence, influence an audience and further an Political agenda, agenda, which may not be Objectivity (journalism), objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a pa ...
, strong personalities, intimidation, and expensive advertising campaigns.
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
argued that direct democracy is the "
tyranny of the majority The tyranny of the majority (or tyranny of the masses) is an inherent weakness to majority rule in which the majority of an electorate pursues exclusively its own objectives at the expense of those of the minority factions. This results in oppress ...
". Some opposition to the referendum has arisen from its use by dictators such as
Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (; 20 April 188930 April 1945) was an Austrian-born German politician who was the dictator of Nazi Germany, Germany from 1933 to 1945. Adolf Hitler's rise to power, He rose to power as the leader of the Nazi Party, becoming Cha ...

Adolf Hitler
and who, it is argued, used the plebiscite to disguise oppressive policies as
populism Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasize the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite". The term developed in the late 19th century in connection to the and has been applied to various poli ...

populism
. Dictators may also make use of referendums as well as
show elections An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office.António de Oliveira Salazar António de Oliveira Salazar (, , ; 28 April 1889 – 27 July 1970) was a Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language ...
in 1933, Benito Mussolini in
1934 Events January * January 1 – The International Telecommunication Union, a specialist agency of the United Nations, is established. * January 7 – The ''Flash Gordon'' comic strip is first published in the United States. * January 15 ...
, Adolf Hitler in
1936 Events January * January 4 Events Pre-1600 *46 BC – Julius Caesar fights Titus Labienus in the Battle of Ruspina. *871 – Battle of Reading (871), Battle of Reading: Æthelred of Wessex and his brother Alfred the Great, Alfr ...
,
Francisco Franco Francisco Franco Bahamonde (; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly ...

Francisco Franco
in
1947 It was the first year of the Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World W ...
,
Park Chung-hee Park Chung-hee (; 14 November 1917 – 26 October 1979) was a South Korea South Korea (Korean language, Korean: /, Revised Romanization of Korean, RR: ''Hanguk''; literally /, Revised Romanization of Korean, RR: ''Namhan'', or /, Mc ...

Park Chung-hee
in
1972 Within the context of Coordinated Universal Time Coordinated Universal Time or UTC is the primary time standard A time standard is a specification for measuring time: either the rate at which time passes; or points in time; or both. ...
, and
Ferdinand Marcos Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. (, September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was a Filipino politician and lawyer who was the 10th president of the Philippines The president of the Philippines ( fil, Pangulo ng Pilipinas, sometime ...
in
1973 Events January * January 1 January 1 or 1 January is the first day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 364 days remaining until the end of the year (365 in leap years). This day is known as New Year's Day since the day mar ...
. Hitler's use of plebiscites is argued as the reason why, since
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, there has been no provision in
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Germany
for the holding of referendums at the federal level. In recent years, referendums have been used strategically by several European governments trying to pursue political and electoral goals. In 1995,
John Bruton John Gerard Bruton (born 18 May 1947) is an Irish former Fine Gael Fine Gael (, ; English language, English: "Family (or Tribe) of the Irish"), officially Fine Gael (United Ireland), is a Liberal conservatism, liberal-conservative and Christi ...

John Bruton
considered that


Closed questions and the separability problem

Some critics of the referendum attack the use of closed questions. A difficulty called the separability problem can plague a referendum on two or more issues. If one issue is in fact, or in perception, related to another on the ballot, the imposed simultaneous voting of first preference on each issue can result in an outcome which is displeasing to most.


Undue limitations on regular government power

Several commentators have noted that the use of citizens' initiatives to amend constitutions has so tied the government to a jumble of popular demands as to render the government unworkable. A 2009 article in ''
The Economist ''The Economist'' is an international weekly newspaper A weekly newspaper is a general-news or current affairsCurrent affairs may refer to: Media * Current Affairs (magazine), ''Current Affairs'' (magazine), a bimonthly magazine of cult ...
'' argued that this had restricted the ability of the
California California is a in the . With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the and the U.S. state by area. It is also the in North America and the in the world. The area and the are the nation's second and ...

California
state government to tax the people and pass the budget, and called for an entirely new Californian constitution. A similar problem also arises when elected governments accumulate excessive debts. That can severely reduce the effective margin for later governments. Both these problems can be moderated by a combination of other measures as * strict rules for correct accounting on budget plans and effective public expenditure; * mandatory assessment by an independent public institution of all budgetary implications of all legislative proposals, before they can be approved; * mandatory prior assessment of the constitutional coherence of any proposal; * interdiction of extra-budget expenditure (tax payers anyway have to fund them, sooner or later).


Sources

* The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation, statistics (German)
Statistik Schweiz - Stimmbeteiligung
*


See also

*
Referendums by countryA referendum (in some countries synonymous with plebiscite, or a vote on a ballot question) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This article summarises referendum laws and practic ...
*
Popular referendum A popular referendum (also known, depending on jurisdiction, as citizens' veto, people's veto, veto referendum, citizen referendum, abrogative referendum, rejective referendum, suspensive referendum or statute referendum)Maija SetäläReferendum, ...
*
Initiative In political science, an initiative (also known as a popular initiative or citizens' initiative) is a means by which a petition signed by a certain number of Voter registration, registered voters can force a government to choose either to enac ...
*
Direct democracy Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which the Election#Electorate, electorate decides on policy initiatives without legislator, legislative representatives as proxies. This differs from the majority of currently estab ...
*
Right to petition The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of ...
*
Independence referendum An independence referendum is a type of referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct and Universal suffrage, universal vote in which an entire Constituency, electorate is invited to vote ...
*
Deliberative referendumA deliberative referendum is a referendum that increases public deliberation through purposeful institutional design. The term ‵deliberative referendum′ stems from deliberative democracy, which emphasises that ″the legitimacy of decisions can b ...
* War referendum


References


Further reading

* Smith, Julie (ed.). 2021.
The Palgrave Handbook of European Referendums
'. Palgrave. *Morel, L. (2011). 'Referenda'. In: B. Badie, D. Berg-Schlosser, & L. Morlino(eds), International Encyclopedia of Political Science.Thousand Oaks: SAGE: 2226–2230. * * * Setälä, M. (1999). Referendums and democratic government. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. * {{Portal bar, Politics Politics Direct democracy Ballot measures Voting
Political terminology Technical terminology of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The ...
Latin gerundives in English